The upcoming film The Old Man & the Gun, from director David Lowery, took on a special significance when the film's star Robert Redford announced that it would be his last time in front of the camera. The 82-year-old actor has been an acclaimed leading man for decade, and like Gene Hackman and Sean Connery before him, whenever an actor of his caliber and resume retires from acting, it's a big deal. The Old Man & the Gun isn't even out yet, but now Robert Redford regrets his decision, not to retire, but to announce it in such a way, as he explained:
That was a mistake. I should never have said that. If I'm gonna retire, I should just slip quietly away from acting. But I shouldn't be talking about it because I think it draws too much attention in the wrong way.
Robert Redford doesn't seem to be backtracking exactly on his decision to retire, although in his initial comments he never entirely closed the door on a return either; it was more of a soft retirement. What he seems to regret was the way he announced it in advance of this film. He perhaps made a miscalculation and didn't anticipate how his retirement would become the main point of discussion, and has dominated the narrative surrounding the project. In Robert Redford's comments to Variety, he seems to wish that if this film was to be his final one, he could have held of on the announcement.
If The Old Man & the Gun truly turns out to be Robert Redford's last movie as an actor, it sounds like it is a good one to go out on. David Lowery's film screened at Telluride and TIFF to positive reviews that praised both Robert Redford's performance, and the film as a fitting final role to his storied career. The announcement of his retirement, regretted or not, also raises the possibility that the film will get an extra rub comes award season. That wasn't Robert Redford's intention obviously, but it's not unthinkable to imagine that Academy voters might want to award the acclaimed actor with that elusive Best Actor award he has never gotten-- something of a recognition of his lifetime of achievement.
The Old Man & the Gun sees Robert Redford in a true story about career bank robber Forrest Tucker who enjoyed a lifelong cycle of robbing banks, getting caught and going to prison, only to escape and do the whole thing all over again. The film stars Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck and Danny Glover. The Old Man & the Gun opens in theaters on September 28th. Check out all the biggest movies and awards contenders heading to theaters the rest of this year in our release guide.